Today's News: Our Take


OOPS... IT'S HIM AGAIN

Pop tart Britney Spears is seeking a restraining order against a 41-year-old Japanese man she says has been stalking her since September. According to court papers, Masahiko Shizawa of Yokohama, Japan, has "tracked and attempted to contact" the 21-year-old singer at her various residences. He allegedly sent Spears photos of himself with notes, "I'm chasing you." Subtle, he's not. read more

BADA-BIG!

Domestic strife paid off big time for HBO Sunday night. The season finale of The Sopranos — which featured Carmela kicking Tony out of the house — attracted a whopping 12.5 million viewers and whacked its competition on the major broadcast networks. It was the mob drama's second most-watched episode ever; the show's season premiere in September drew 13.4 million fans. And despite complaints that the fourth season was a bore, ratings were actually up 22 percent over Season Three. By the way, have I mentioned how freakin' amazing Edie Falco was during those fight scenes with James Gandolfini? Well, she was. Forget Emmy, she deserves an Oscar! read more

SHORT CUTS

With 13 shows to go, Guns N' Roses have cancelled their first tour in a decade. No reason was given, but the move follows recent no-shows in Vancouver and Philadelphia... E! has named Jennifer Aniston its Entertainer of the Year. read more

RING AROUND THE SEQUEL

DreamWorks is in talks with Ring director Gore Verbinski to helm a sequel to the hit thriller, which has grossed $123 million to date. There's no word if Naomi Watts will be back. read more

WHO CAN'T HEAR?

After 40 years of noisy guitar riffs, rock legend Pete Townshend (The Who) says he's nearly deaf. "The recent return to touring and to me playing electric guitar — albeit more quietly than in the 1970s — led to further deterioration of my hearing," the 57-year-old told London's Sun tabloid. "My right ear, which encounters my own edgy guitar and the machine gun strokes of the drums, has suffered badly. I've no idea what I can do about this." Well, I'm no doctor, but maybe he should give the ax a rest? read more

CYBER PEEPERS MUST PAY

Pamela Anderson and ex-hubby Tommy Lee have won their lawsuit against Internet Entertainment Group — the company that marketed their infamous "honeymoon" sex tape in the late '90s. A default judgement forces IEG to pay the duo legal fees, plus the profits it made from selling their sexcapades, which amounts to about $740,000 each. Last year, the Baywatch bombshell settled a similar lawsuit with IEG over her saucy home video with ex-beau Bret Michaels of Poison. Note to Pam: Give your camcorder a rest, hon. read more

NO LAUGHING MATTER

Friends star Matthew Perry is getting serious about his film career. The actor has been cast opposite Robin Tunney in the big-screen relationship drama Fever. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the indie centers around a couple "who are shocked out of the predictability of their relationship by an event that challenges them to either love more deeply or lose each other for good." Sounds like they lost the remote. read more

IS HE MAD?

Mel Gibson will pocket a cool $25 million to reprise his role as post-apocalyptic lawman-turned-outlaw Max Rockatansky in a fourth Mad Max film, Variety reports. Titled Fury Road, the $104 million project will start shooting in Australia next May. Incidentally, the first three flicks — 1979's Mad Max, 1981's Mad Max: The Road Warrior and 1985's Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome — grossed only $69 million domestically. We're going to go out on a limb and predict that the latest sequel will make more than that in its opening weekend. In other Hollywood casting news, Tom Hanks has signed on to star in the Coen Brothers' upcoming remake of the 1955 black comedy The Ladykillers. read more

DOMESTIC DISPUTE

Tough guy actor Tom Sizemore, star of CBS's Robbery Homicide Division, was arrested Monday at his Los Angeles home for allegedly punching his girlfriend in the face and throwing her to the ground. He was later released on $2,500 bail. E! reports that the argument was over the couple's wedding plans. read more

MUSIC KUDOS

R&B newcomer Ashanti was the big winner at last night's Billboard Music Awards, scoring eight trophies including top female artist, R&B/hip-hop artist and female R&B/hip-hop artist. Nelly grabbed six awards (including 2002's top artist) and the album of the year went to Eminem for The Eminem Show. Steven Tyler presented Cher with an achievement award, and comedian Chris Tucker gave a special "Thriller" award to Michael Jackson, who accepted the honor via satellite and then dropped it from a fifth floor balcony. (Just kidding.) read more

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